Acts 19:9
But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.
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(9) When divers were hardened and believed not.—Better (the verb implying continuous action), when some were growing hardened and disobedient.

Spake evil of that way before the multitude.—Better, as before, of the way. (See Note on Acts 9:2.) The unbelieving Jews acted at Ephesus as at Thessalonica, and tried to wreak their hatred against St. Paul by stirring up suspicion among the Gentiles, especially, as before, among those of the lower class, who were always ready for a tumult.

Disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.—The Greek word for “school” had a somewhat interesting history. Originally meaning “leisure,” it was applied to leisure as bestowed on study, then, as here, to the place in which study was pursued; lastly, as in our phrase, “the school of Zeno or Epicurus,” as a collective term for the followers of a conspicuous teacher. In this case, it was probably a lecture-room which, as the private property of the owner, was lent or let to the Apostle.

Of the Tyrannus here mentioned nothing more is known with certainty, but the name is connected with one or two interesting coincidences that are more or less suggestive. Like its Latin equivalent, Rex it was not uncommon among the class of slaves or freed-men. It is found in the Columbarium of the household of Livia on the Appian Way, and as belonging to one who is described as a Medicus or physician. Both names and professions in this class were very commonly hereditary, and the hypothesis that this Tyrannus was also a physician, and that, as such, he may have known St. Luke, or, possibly, may have been among the Jews whom the decree of Claudius (Acts 18:2) had driven from Rome, and so shared the faith of Aquila and Priscilla, fits in with and explains the facts recorded. An unconverted teacher of philosophy or rhetoric was not likely to have lent his class-room to a preacher of the new faith. (See also Note on Acts 19:12.)

19:8-12 When arguments and persuasions only harden men in unbelief and blasphemy, we must separate ourselves and others from such unholy company. God was pleased to confirm the teaching of these holy men of old, that if their hearers believed them not, they might believe the works.But when divers - When some were hardened.

Were hardened - When their hearts were hardened, and they became violently opposed to the gospel. When the truth made no impression on them. The word "harden," as applied to the heart, is often used to denote "insensibility, and opposition to the gospel."

But spake evil of that way - Of the gospel - the way, path, or manner in which God saves people. See Acts 16:17; Acts 18:26; Matthew 7:13-14.

Separated the disciples - Removed them from the influence and society of those who were seeking to draw them away from the faith. This is often the best way to prevent the evil influence of others. Christians, if they wish to preserve their minds calm and peaceful; if they wish to avoid the agitations of conflict, and the temptations of those who would lead them astray, should withdraw from their society, and seek the fellowship of their Christian brethren.

Disputing daily - This is not a happy translation. The word used here διαλεγόμενος dialegomenos does not of necessity denote "disputation or contention," but is often used in a good sense of "reasoning" Acts 17:2; Acts 18:4, Acts 18:19; Acts 24:25, or of "public preaching," Acts 20:7, Acts 20:9. It is used in this sense here, and denotes that Paul taught publicly, or reasoned on the subject of religion in this place.

In the school of one Tyrannus - Who this Tyrannus was is not known. It is probable that he was a Jew, who was engaged in this employment, and who might not be unfavorably disposed toward Christians. In his school, or in the room which he occupied for teaching, Paul instructed the people when he was driven from the synagogue. Christians at that time had no churches, and they were obliged to assemble in any place where it might be convenient to conduct public worship.

9. when divers—"some."

were hardened, &c.—implying that others, probably a large number, believed.

spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed—from the synagogue, as at Corinth (Ac 18:7).

and separated the disciples—withdrawing to a separate place of meeting, for the sake both of the converts already made, and the unsophisticated multitude.

disputing—"discoursing" or "discussing."

daily in the school—or lecture hall.

of one Tyrannus—probably a converted teacher of rhetoric or philosophy.

Divers were hardened; the sun hardeneth what it doth not soften, and causeth a stench from dunghills, as well as a sweet smell from the mountains of spices; and Christ is for the falling, as well as for the rising of many.

That way; so the doctrine of the gospel is called, by reason of its excellency above other ways. By way the Hebrews understand any course or means to an end. Hence we read of the way of peace, the way of salvation, the way of the Lord.

He departed from them; not frequenting any more the synagogue of the Jews, where they met only with contradiction of their doctrine, and blasphemy against their Saviour.

Tyrannus; some have taken this word appellatively, as denoting some great man, or ruler, who maintained a school, or place for instruction; but it is rather a proper name of some private teacher amongst them: for the Jews had not only public schools, where their consisteries did meet, but private schools, where their law was taught.

But when divers were hardened and believed not,.... For though some were affected with and convinced by the arguments the apostle used, others were but the more hardened and remained incredulous: for the Gospel, while it is the savour of life unto life to some, it is the savour of death unto death, to others; as the sun melts the wax, and hardens the clay:

but spake evil of the way before the multitude; the Syriac version and Beza's ancient copy read, "before the multitude of the Gentiles": the unbelieving Jews not only contradicted the Gospel preached by the apostle, but blasphemed it, and said all the evil things of it they could, and loaded it with reproaches, and charged it with all the bad consequences they could think of; and that publicly, before all the people, in order to prejudice them against it; for by "the way", is meant the doctrine of the Gospel, which the Vulgate Latin here reads, "the way of the Lord"; and so some copies; and two of Stephens's copies read, "the way of God", as does also the Syriac version; and the Arabic version, "the way of faith"; and the Ethiopic version, "the doctrine"; the doctrine, which shows the way of God's salvation by Jesus Christ:

he departed from them; the hardened, unbelieving, and blaspheming Jews, as being unworthy of the means of grace; he went out of their synagogue, and no more entered there: and separated the disciples; from them, the twelve disciples he had laid his hands on, and others who in this space of time, the space of three months, had been converted under his ministry; these he formed into a separate Gospel church state, as well as engaged them to quit the company and conversation of these blasphemers, and no more attend with them in their synagogue, that so they might not be infected and corrupted by them; a separation from such who contradict and blaspheme the truths and ordinances of the Gospel, is justifiable:

disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus: which was either built by him, and so went by his name, or which one of this name possessed, and made use of; for it seems to be the proper name of a man, and so the Syriac version renders it, "whose name was Tyrannus"; though by others it is taken to be an appellative, and to design some great person, who patronised the apostle, and in whose house he taught; the word "tyrant", being formerly used for a king, a prince, or nobleman; and so the Arabic version renders it, "in the dwelling house of one of the great men"; the chief of Asia, that were his friends, Acts 19:31 and so the Ethiopic version, "and he taught daily before the court and the governors": some copies read "Tyrannius"; mention is made of a philosopher whose name was "Tyrannion", who was so called, because he vexed and disturbed those that were brought up in the same school with him (f); this man it seems was a schoolmaster; there was one of his name a bishop of Tyre, a martyr under Dioclesian; and another whose name was Tyrannus, bishop of Antioch (g); Beza's ancient copy, and one of Stephens's, add, "from the fifth hour to the tenth"; as if he spent five hours in public teaching every day, and rest in his trade and devotion.

(f) Hesychius de Philosophis, p. 64. (g) Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 7. c. 32. & l. 8. c. 13.

{3} But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that {d} way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one {e} Tyrannus.

(3) For a man to separate himself and others from infidels who are utterly desperate, is not to divide the Church, but rather to unite it, and make it one.

(d) By this word way, the Hebrews understand any type of life, and here it is taken for Christianity.

(e) This was a man's proper name.

Acts 19:9. But when some were hardened and refused belief, he severed himself from them (from the synagogue) and separated the Christians, (henceforth) discoursing daily in the school of a certain Tyrannus. Tyrannus (the same name in Apollod. ii. 4. 5; Boeckh, Corp. Inscr. 1732; 2Ma 4:40; Joseph. Antt. xvi. 10. 3, Bell. i. 26. 3; and among the Rabbis טורנום, see Drusius in loc.) is usually considered (as by Lange and Baumgarten, comp. Ewald, p. 516) as a Gentile rhetorician, who had as a public sophist possessed a lecture-room, and is perhaps identical with the one described by Suidas: Τύραννος· σοφιστὴς περὶ στάσεων κ. διαιρέσεως λόγου βιβλία δέκα. But as the text does not indicate a transition of the apostle wholly to the Gentiles (see, on the other hand, Acts 18:6-7, Acts 13:46), but merely a separation from the synagogue, and as in the new place of instruction (σχολή, a teaching-room, often in Plutarch, etc.), Ἰουδαῖοι (and these are named first, Acts 19:10) continued to hear him; as, in fine, Tyrannus, had he been a Gentile, would have to be conceived of as σεβόμενος τὸν θεόν, like Justus, Acts 18:7,—an essential point, which Luke (comp. Acts 18:7) would hardly have left unnoticed: the opinion of Hammond is to be preferred, that Tyrannus is to be considered as a Jewish teacher who had a private synagogue, בית מדדש (“in Beth Midrasch docuerunt traditiones atque earum expositiones,” Babyl. Berac. f. 17. 1; see Lightf. ad Matth. p. 253 f.; Vitringa, Synag. p. 137). Paul with his Christians withdrew from the public synagogue to the private synagogue of Tyrannus, where he and his doctrine were more secure from public annoyance. The objection, that it would have been inconsistency to pass from the synagogue to a Rabbinical school (Baumgarten), is of no weight, as there were also Rabbins like Gamaliel, and Tyrannus must be considered, at all events, as at least inclined to Christianity.

τ. ὁδόν] see on Acts 9:2, Acts 18:25.

Acts 19:9. ἐσκληρύνοντο: only here and in Romans 9:18, but four times in Hebrews, three times as a quotation from Psalm 95:8, and once in direct reference to that passage, Acts 3:13, cf. Exodus 7:3, Deuteronomy 2:30, etc. In Sir 30:12 it is found as here with ἀπειθέω, cf. also Clem. Rom., li., 3, 5.—ἠπείθ.: “were disobedient,” R.V., unbelief is manifested in disobedience, Westcott, Hebrews, pp. 87, 97, cf. Ign., Magn., viii., 2; Polyc., Phil., ii., 1.—τὴν ὁδὸν: “the Way,” see on Acts 9:2.—κακολ., Mark 9:39, used by our Lord of speaking evil of Him, Matthew 15:4, and Mark 7:10, as a quotation from Exodus 21:17; in LXX five times, and once in same sense in 2Ma 4:1.—ἀποστὰς: as in Acts 18:7, at Corinth; verb only in Luke and Paul, except Hebrews 3:12, see Friedrich, p. 7, and above on Acts 15:38, seven times in N.T. with ἀπό and a genitive as here.—ἀφώρισε: except Matthew 13:49; Matthew 25:32 (2), only in Luke and Paul, cf. Luke 6:22, Acts 13:2, Romans 1:1, 2 Corinthians 6:17, quotation, Galatians 1:15; Galatians 2:12; cf. Grimm-Thayer for different shades of meaning, both in a good and bad sense, in classical Greek and also in LXX frequently. It is evidently presupposed that as in Acts 18:26 there were still disciples who held fast to the common worship of a Jewish community in the synagogue.—καθʼ ἡμέραν: on the days when synagogue worship was held, and so the separation was complete.—ἐν σχολῇ Τυράννου τινός, see critical note. We cannot tell whether reference is made to the lecture-hall of some heathen sophist hired by Paul or to the Beth Hammidrash kept by a Jew. Others have thought that Tyrannus, like Titius Justus, Acts 18:7, may have been “a proselyte of the gate,” but if so, one might expect it to be signified as in the case of Justus. The name was common enough, Jos., Ant., xvi., 10, 3; B. J., i., 26, 3; 2Ma 4:40, and see Plumptre’s note, in loco. Overbeck’s view is quite possible, that the expression referred to the standing name of the place, so called from its original owner, cf. Hort, Judaistic Christianity, p. 93. Probably, if we take the first-mentioned view, in teaching in such a school or lecture-hall the Apostle himself would appear to the people at large as one of the rhetors or travelling sophists of the time, Ramsay, St. Paul, pp. 246, 271 (so McGiffert, p. 285, who regards the notice as taken from a trustworthy source). For instances of the use of σχολή as a school of the philosophers for teaching and lecturing see Wetstein, in loco, cf. Latin, auditorium, Zöckler compares St. Augustine’s lecture-hall in Rome before his conversion.

9. But when divers were hardened, and believed not] Perhaps there may be a little gain to those unfamiliar with older English in putting (as Rev. Ver.) “some” for “divers,” there seems to be none in giving “and disobedient” instead of “and believed not.” The original looks back to the verb “persuade” in the previous verse. The Apostle tried to persuade, these men refused to be persuaded. That seems better expressed by the A. V.

but spake [better, speaking] evil of that [the] way before the multitude] The evil speaking is the final manifestation of the hardening. The Apostle continued his exhortations to stony-hearted hearers for three months, but when their obstinacy changed into malignity he left them. “The way” was soon given as a distinctive name to “the Christian religion.” See note on Acts 9:2 and cf. below Acts 19:23.

It was not mere opposition to the arguments of the Apostle which these Jews employed, they took occasion to excite the crowds of the city against him. And it would seem from Acts 19:33, where the Jews attempt to put forward a spokesman in the tumult, that they wished the heathen populace to understand that Paul was not approved of by his own nationality.

he departed from them] i.e. ceased to take part in the public services at the synagogue.

and separated the disciples] The Christian part of the congregation, with any of the Jews who were more interested than the rest in his teaching.

disputing [Better, reasoning] daily] The verb is the same as in the previous verse. Among these more sympathizing hearers, he would only have to set forward the arguments for the faith which he preached unto them. His teaching now could go on constantly, and was not confined to the synagogue times of service.

in the school of one Tyrannus] The best authorities omit “one.” The teacher, whether a heathen or a Jew, was a man well known. Otherwise we can conceive no reason for the mention of a proper name. As the name is Greek, some have thought that the place meant was the lecture-room of a philosophic teacher; others, thinking that St Paul would hardly have chosen such a place for his preaching, have preferred to consider it a Jewish school or Beth-Hammidrash, in which his Jewish hearers would be more willing to assemble. Since the listeners are described, in the next verse, as being partly Jews, and partly Greeks, it is impossible to arrive at a conclusion. No doubt the Jews in Ephesus were numerous enough to render such “schools” necessary for their education, and in their intercourse with Gentiles they not unfrequently adopted a Gentile name in addition to their Jewish one. So Tyrannus may have been a Jew.

Acts 19:9. Ὡςπλήθους, when—before the multitude) A cause for just separation is public revilings against the truth.—ἀποστὰς, having withdrawn) He left their synagogue to them, content with a smaller school, and a more select number: ἀποστὰς ἀφώρισε, having withdrawn he separated: by his act he influenced other good men; [and so he secured them against the stumbling-block thrown in their way by the evil-speakers.—V. g.]—καθʼ ἡμέραν, daily) not merely on the Sabbath or Lord’s day.—σχολῇ, the school) instead of the synagogue.

Verse 9. - Some for divers, A.V.; disobedient for believed not, A.V. (ἡπείθουν, as Acts 14:2; Acts 17:5, T.R.); speaking for but spake, A.V.; the Way for that way, A.V.; reasoning for disputing, A.V.; Tyrannus for one Tyrannus, A.V. Were hardened; or, hardened themselves. Whether considered as active or middle, the hardening their minds against the reception of the truth was just as voluntary an action as that of one who shuts his eyes that he may not see the light. For the use of σκληρύνειν (Hebrew הִקְשָׁה, applied to the heart or the neck), see Romans 9:18; Hebrews 3:8, 15; Hebrews 4:7 - passages all founded upon the LXX. of Psalm 94:8. See also Exodus 7:22; Exodus 8:19; and Ecclus. 30:11, where, as here, disobedience is the consequence of being hardened. Μήποτε σκληρυνθεὶς ἀπειθήσῃ σοι, "Lest being hardened he disobey thee." The A.V., by leaving out "were" before "disobedient," and translating as if "hardened" and "disobedient" were two adjectives, destroys this consequence. Speaking evil of; κακολογοῦντες (see Matthew 15:4; Mark 9:39), frequent in the LXX. as the rendering of קִלֵּל (Exodus 21:17; 1 Samuel 3:13), which is otherwise rendered by κακῶς εἴπειν," as in Leviticus 20:9. It is nearly synonymous with βλασφημαῖν. The Way (as ver. 23; see Acts 9:2, note). They would speak evil of the gospel by describing it as a blasphemy against God and against Moses, as contrary to the Law, as subversive of all the customs and traditions of the Jews, and so on. He departed. Ἀποστάσ is more than simply "departing;" it implies a withdrawal and separation front fellowship with them, as in 1 Timothy 6:5 (A.V.), "From such withdraw thyself;" Ecclesiastes 7:2, "Depart from the unjust" (comp. Luke 13:27). Separated the disciples. Hitherto the converted Jews at Ephesus had continued to join their unconverted brethren in the worship of the synagogue; now Paul withdrew them and separated them (ἀφώρισε, Galatians 2:10). The school of Tyrannus; σχολή, leisure; then, "the employment of leisure," as especially in philosophic discussions and the like; thirdly, the "place" were such discussions were held, a school. It is uncertain whether Tyrannus was a Gentile well known at the time (without the τινός), who kept a lecture room for philosophic discussions or lectures on rhetoric, or whether he was a Jew who held a private school or meeting in his house - a beth-midrash - as was not uncommon in largo towns where many Jews were (Light foot, vol. 3. p. 236). "Beth-midrash - The Jewish divinity school, where their doctors disputed of the more high and difficult matters of the Law" (Index to Lightfoot's Works). It was commonly the upper room in the house of a rabbi (Lightfoot, on Acts 2:13, vol. 8:363), whence "house of rabbis "was synonymous with beth-midrash, house of discussion. The name Tyrannus occurs in 2 Macc. 4:40; Josephus, 'Ant. Jud.,' 16. 10:4; 'Bell Jud.,' 1. 26:6, of an officer in Herod's bodyguard, who might be a Jew or a Greek; and a certain Tyrannus is described by Suidas as a sophist and an author, possibly the same as is here spoken cf. Lightfoot, Meyer, Alford, and others think that the Tyrannus here spoken of was a Jew; Lange, Olshausen, Howson, Farrar, Lewin, etc., think he was a Greek philosopher or rhetorician. Some think that "the school of Tyrannus" was the name of the lecture-room from some former teacher (see Renan. p. 345). Acts 19:9
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